Prince Albert: The Man Who Saved the Monarchy

Harper. Aug. 2019. 448p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062749550. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780062749574. BIOG
Wilson’s companion biography to Victoria: A Life presents a full picture of Queen Victoria’s beloved “Prince Consort.” Using archival sources, Wilson portrays Prince Albert (1819–61) as a bibliophile, linguist, and art connoisseur who moved the British monarchy in a modern direction in order to survive a rapidly democratizing and industrializing world. Wilson renders a sensitive and honest portrait of both Albert’s relationship with his cousin-turned-wife, Victoria, with whom he had nine children, and frustrations at having no “official” political status or influence. The author also touches upon their children’s efforts at ruling royal dynasties in Russia, Spain, and Germany. While general readers may find it difficult to follow the complexities of mid-19th-century European politics, they will appreciate the human depiction of this political marriage and gain a clear sense of Albert’s contributions to British culture, including his efforts to create a catalog of the artworks of Raphael; his creation of Osborne House, the royal residence; and most important, his role in guiding the success of the 1851 Great London Exhibition.
VERDICT Readers interested in British history and royals will appreciate this accessible, well-researched study of an admired leader.

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